Parliament tied by delay in reaching agreement


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Zimbabwe’s Parliament could not function properly until an agreement was reached on the allocation of ministries by the two key parties, the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front.

The Speaker, Lovemore Moyo, who is also chairman of the MDC, said parliament was not able to move forward until agreement had been reached because the drafting of Constitutional Amendment number 19 which would incorporate the Global Political Agreement, a new budget and the creation of critical parliamentary committees could only be done when there were substantive ministers.

The new Justice Minister was supposed to spearhead the drafting of the constitutional amendment while the Finance Minister was supposed to prepare and present the new budget.

Moyo said Parliament could not set up the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, which is responsible for selecting the chairpersons and members of all other committees, because some of the MPs who might end up as ministers.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE933, PARLIAMENT’S HANDS TIED AS MPS AWAIT AGREEMENT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE933

2008-10-17 11:02

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8037

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0933/01 2911102

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 171102Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3574

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2360

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2478

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0988

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1756

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2111

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2532

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4964

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1627

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000933

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT’S HANDS TIED AS MPS AWAIT AGREEMENT

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The speaker of the Zimbabwean House of Assembly,

Lovemore Moyo, met with polecon chief and poloff on October

17 to discuss the current state of affairs and legislative

agenda in Parliament. Parliament is awaiting the outcome of

the ministerial negotiations between ZANU-PF and the two MDC

formations, and Moyo is unable to move forward with the MDC-T

legislative agenda until an agreement is reached. This is

delaying the drafting and passage of Constitutional Amendment

19 that will incorporate a ZANU-PF*MDC agreement if reached,

a new budget, and the creation of critical parliamentary

committees. Despite the lack of an agreement, Parliament

will remain in session. It has been vigorously debating

issues including sanctions, land, and humanitarian assistance

since it convened on October 14.

 

————————————–

Parliament Constrained by Lack of Deal

————————————–

 

2. (C) On October 17, Moyo discussed with us the current

state of affairs and legislative agenda in Parliament. He

explained that Parliament is currently constrained by the

lack of an agreement between the MDC and ZANU-PF on the

composition of a new Cabinet and ministerial allocations. In

the absence of an agreement, Parliament cannot proceed with

the passage of the proposed Constitutional Amendment 19, a

new budget, or even the creation of parliamentary committees.

 

Q (C) Moyo told us that once ministries are fully allocated

and ministers assigned to their posts, Amendment 19 will be

drafted by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of

Parliamentary Affairs. The understanding between the

negotiators is that ZANU-PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa–who

is widely expected to be named Minister of Justice–would

produce a draft with input from MDC-T secretary-general

Tendai Biti and MDC-M secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

 

4. (C) Likewise, Parliament has to wait for the Ministry of

Finance to produce a new government budget before the House

can debate and vote on the proposal. As the Ministry of

Finance is still being contested, Moyo did not expect to see

a budget draft soon.

 

5. (C) Parliament is also constrained in constituting the

Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) because some of

the MPs who would be considered for seats on the CSRO could

end up as ministers. (NOTE: The CSRO is the principal

parliamentary committee, and is responsible for selecting the

chairpersons and members of all other committees, including

the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the media regulatory

authority, the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the Public

Accounts Committee, and the portfolio committees. END NOTE.)

 

—————————————–

Moyo’s Priorities and View on Cooperation

—————————————–

 

6. (C) Foremost among Moyo’s and the MDC’s legislative

priorities is amending the repressive Access to Information

and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Public Order and

Security Act (POSA). Moyo had already discussed this with

his legal team and told us that it was “one of the key things

we have to amend.” He commented that, “We have the numbers;

we can do it.” Another priority was ensuring that the

 

HARARE 00000933 002 OF 002

 

 

Broadcasting Services Act allowed for the successful

registration of new radio stations.

 

7. (C) Moyo told us that the functioning of his office is

limited by having to request foreign exchange funds from the

Office of the President. For instance, his request for funds

to travel to Kenya last week to speak with his Kenyan

counterpart and Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga was denied. He

said MDC lawyers are preparing a challenge to presidential

control of his office based on separation of powers

 

8. (C) In previous meetings with the Ambassador and USAID,

Moyo had requested U.S. assistance for himself, his office,

and key legislators to build parliamentary expertise and work

around his financial limitations. We told Moyo that USAID is

prepared to provide assistance but had not yet received

concrete proposals from him. He promised to provide these.

 

9. (C) Moyo cautioned that assistance, while welcome, should

be discrete because of ZANU-PF efforts to tarnish the MDC as

a puppet of the West. He mentioned that he had been invited

to travel to the U.K. to meet with the British speaker of the

House of Commons, and that this trip raises similar concerns.

 

10. (C) When asked how he would characterize the prospects

of cooperation between the parties in Parliament, Moyo said

there was still suspicion and sides are “still attacking and

sizing each other up.” He saw some willingness to work on

some specific issues dealing with human suffering and food

availability.

 

——————————-

Parliament’s First Two Sessions

——————————-

 

11. (SBU) In the absence of specific legislative activities,

legislators have been engaged in debate for the past two days

on President Mugabe’s speech at the opening of Parliament on

August 26. Poloff attended the session on October 16, and

for several hours MDC and ZANU-PF MPs alternately argued for

what they believed were the foremost parliamentary

priorities. ZANU-PF legislators focused on sanctions, whild

MDC legislators spoke about the needs of the Zimbabwean

people and concentrated on the shortage of food, water,

medical supplies, and the breakdown of public service.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) Though Parliament will remain in session, until an

agreement is reached on ministerial allocations, its hands

are tied, and we do not expect any significant legislative

progress. Speaker Moyo is also challenged by trying to build

cooperation between the various political factions, as well

as accessing resources to develop parliamentary expertise and

form international ties. END COMMENT

 

 

DHANANI

(14 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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